PCB disappointed over Indian tour cancellation
Published: Sunday, March 30, 2003, 2:08 [IST]
Copyright AFP 2001
India calls off Pak tour, Pakistan retaliates
Karachi: Pakistan said on Saturday the cancellation of its cricket tours with rival India was disappointing and violated the spirits of sport. "We are hugely disappointed and do not understand the inexplicable stand of the Indian government that it is ready to play in multi-lateral events and not in bilateral series," Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) director Chishty Mujahid said. India was scheduled to tour Pakistan next month, but BCCI president Jagmohan Dalmiya announced in Kolkata the national team would not be able to make the trip because of a government ban on bilateral series with Pakistan. "It is known to everybody that the government is against bilateral cricket ties with Pakistan," Dalmiya was quoted as saying. Under the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Future Test Programme (FTP), India was due to play three Tests and as many one- day games in Pakistan in April-May while its counterpart was due to undertake a return trip next year. In its reaction, the PCB said the Pakistan team reserved the right to not cross the border next year. The Indian government has banned cricket ties with Pakistan since 1999 in protest against Islamabad's alleged support to Islamic militants fighting Indian rule in the disputed region of Kashmir. Pakistan denies the allegations. The two teams, however, clashed in the multi-nation World Cup in South Africa early this month, with India beating Pakistan by six wickets in a preliminary league match at Centurion. India last toured Pakistan in 1997-98 for a three-match One-day series while Pakistan last toured India in 1998-99 despite threats from Hindu fundamentalists. "We took the matter (of India's refusal to play in Pakistan) to the ICC meeting in South Africa last week and will raise it once again in the June meeting in London," the PCB director said. The ICC said in its meeting in South Africa it was willing to send officials to try to convince the Indian government to change its stance but not before it received an invitation from India to visit. India last month also refused to send a team to the now-postponed South Asian Federation (SAF) Games in Islamabad.